AN ABILITY to handle fast ground conditions has become increasingly important as this week has gone on and, with a dry forecast, the Ascot straight course come Saturday’s big race, the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (3:40pm), is likely to be lightning quick.
Those are conditions that I think will be ideal for SACRED, who has won all three of her races on turf on good or faster going.
She was impressive in the Group Three Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes over 7f on the all-weather at Lingfield last month and, if she can build on that decisive win, she could be a real threat to those at the top of the market.
She also receives three pounds from the colts and geldings and, while she is yet to be victorious at Group One level yet, on ratings she has very little to find.
Ryan Moore rode Sacred last time but Tom Marquand now gets on board for his boss, William Haggas, and with this looking a wide-open renewal, she makes appeal at a decent price of around 7/1.
For the fifth and final time at Royal Ascot, there’s the chance to bet with World Pool and join punters from 28 countries around the globe for the chance to win a slice of some massive pools.
I’ll be playing Sacred in a World Pool Quinella with Artorius and Highfield Princess.
The first mentioned was a slightly unlucky third in this race last year and a return to Ascot looks to have been the aim ever since.
Highfield Princess ran her usual gutsy race to finish second in the King’s Stand on the opening day of this year’s meeting, and given her ultra-consistent record in these top-level sprints, I certainly want to include her in my Quinella.
After winning the King Edward VII with King Of Stars yesterday, Roger Varian and Kevin Stott team up once again with OLIVIA MARALDA in the Jersey Stakes (3.05pm).
She ran out of petrol over a mile on soft ground in the 1000 Guineas, but a quicker surface and the step back to seven furlongs looked to be just what she needed when winning the Surrey Stakes at Epsom last time.
She ran out a decisive winner there, and the form has been franked with the sixth-placed horse winning since.
At 6/1 in places, she looks a good bet with conditions again in her favour.
The Wokingham (5.00pm) is often one of the hardest races of the week to solve, but I’m willing to throw a couple of darts at the board.
Mick Appleby’s JUAN LE PINS has an excellent record on fast ground, with four of his seven career wins coming with ‘firm’ in the going description.
He also still looks feasibly treated under a five-pound penalty for winning last time at Nottingham and should hold a live each-way chance at 18/1.
SAINT LAWRENCE finished an excellent sixth in the King’s Stand last year.
Everything looks set for a big run with the blinkers he ran well in there returning, and Hollie Doyle in the saddle on the gelding’s first start for Archie Watson.
Olivia Maralda e/w 3.05pm Royal Ascot
Sacred e/w 3.40pm Royal Ascot
Sacred, Artorius, Highfield Princess (World Pool Quinella) 3.40pm Royal Ascot
Juan Les Pins e/w 5.00pm Royal Ascot
Saint Lawrence e/w 5.00pm Royal Ascot